How can I talk about suffering and grief without mentioning Joseph
whose story covers 22 chapters in Genesis? (Gen. 37,39-50)
The favorite beloved son of his father
Hated and betrayed by his brothers into slavery at age 17
Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned
Interprets the dream of the cupbearer to Pharaoh, but forgotten
Remains in prison two more years.
Poor miserable Joseph. If I had been in Joseph’s shackles...!
But what is the truth?
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man.” Gen. 39:2
The Hebrew for successful means: to prosper, to get on well.
“The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave
him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Gen. 39:21
“...The Lord was with him. And whatever he did the Lord made it
succeed.” Gen. 39:23
The Lord was with him and so Joseph was a “lucky fellow.” Old English
I find this truly amazing. Somehow Joseph understood this truth even
in the midst of his suffering.
In the last chapter of Joseph’s life we see the death of Jacob and the
terror of his brothers: “PLEASE forgive us,” they plead.
Joseph says to them: “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for
you, you meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring
it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So
do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” and so he
Papa, Joseph walked it out one dark day at a time--for years! What a
great story of one man’s trust in you, and how it played out over time.
Time... I keep trying to figure it out in terms of the next day, or in terms
of a week, or maybe even a year.